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Review of Game of Thrones: Episode 2

The second episode of the Telltale Games Game of Thrones game was released today on PC. Titled “The Lost Lords”, the launch trailer can be seen below:

For the most part, our thoughts on the game based on the first episode hold—it’s a solid but (so far) unexceptional game, with some of the annoying Game of Thrones quirks present, like veritable teleportation between far-distant locations (made even more blatant in this episode, as a character makes his way to Yunkai from the North in what seems to be a span of a few days). So far the game seems to be moving around pieces on the board, not least because this episode introduces two additional point of view characters, but that seems reasonable in a six-episode series.

There are a few thematic notes that we’ll discuss beneath the cut, for those who (like us) are interested in how Telltale has worked the setting into its narrative.

One minor oddity was the fact that the freedmen of Yunkai were apparently offering 800 dragons—that’s Westerosi coinage—for the capture of a Wise Master. Properly speaking, that figure should probably have been given in honors—the coinage of Slaver’s Bay—but for some reason the writing team at Telltale managed to miss it. A more interesting part of the episode was the (invented) Lost Legion, a sellsword company who profess to be descendants of Old Valyria and are probably Volantene for the most. The nifty bit was the fact that the leader of the company very clearly had purple/violet eyes, which strikes us as a nice nod to the novels despite t the TV show eschewed giving the Targaryens purple eyes because of the discomfort involved in wearing colored/tinted lenses.

Besides the problem of Malcolm Branfield making it to Yunkai in what really seem to be mere days, there’s some further weirdness with Rodrik. We have noted elsewhere that Gared Tuttle’s trip up to the North from the Twins seems to have been very, very fast. Now we have Rodrik Forrester apparently in a coma for the entire length of a similar journey, and the body of his father and their men showing only early stages of rotting. And yet by the time they arrive, Gared’s already at the Wall, a journey he started at the end of episode 1. While one explanation might be that the narratives are playing out at different time spans, and that they’ll then come together toward the end, we have a strong feeling that this is not the case and instead the world of Telltale’s game seems to be a hundredth the size of the actual setting (if that), and in some ways seems to go well beyond the amount of space-compression that the TV show has done.

Finally, as to the newly introduced House Glenmore, we can’t speak as to whether they are canonical or not. What we can say is that GRRM has never had them in any Heraldry notes he’s sent us over the years, and has not mentioned them. Our inclination is that the house is an invention for the game, although that makes us wonder why they felt the need to invent one instead of using one of the houses from said notes (much as the antagonists, the Whitehills, are one of the northern families GRRM created years ago when working on the heraldry of the setting). Their existence does betray one last oddity, however: it’s explicitly said that a marriage between Rodrik and Elena would make the Glenmores “oathbound” to support them militarily… but that’s not really, exactly, how marriages work in the setting. While they are political alliances, they do not really entail oaths of mutual support and protection between families. It’s certainly true that a marriage alliance would give the Glenmores a sense of obligation to support the Forresters, but “oathbound” is overstating matters (even in light of the TV show; there’s no suggestion that the Tyrells are oathbound to support the Lannisters through thick-and-thin).

On the whole, though, the game’s depiction of the setting is perfectly acceptable, especially as it tries to adhere to the Game of Thrones-flavor of the setting rather than the A Song of Ice and Fire setting.

You can buy the game on Steam, and will be released on a number of other platforms over the coming days.

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